Thursday, February 28, 2008

Indie Craft Fairs

I'm a really big fan of indie craft fairs. I find the modern DIY practice really fresh and appealing, and the vibe so different from a regular craft fair. So far I've enjoyed attending them and buying lots and lots of awesome stuff, but one of my goals for this year is to apply to some of the fairs in driving distance in order to test how my work might sell in a market that's really suited to it.

Here is a list of my favorite indie craft fairs:

I attended the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago the weekend after failing my qualifying exams, and it was quite a good outlet for some retail therapy. I bought loads of things, including a vinyl wrist cuff in orange and grey, knitted strawberry-top hats for both my girls, postcards, pins, and soap, and I studied the kinds of displays and marketing that the successful booths employed. It was where I figured out that my own displays need to look way more put-together. My display was a lot better at the comics fair, I think, but I still need a much better-looking display for the quilts.

The Bazaar Bizarre (I wish it was the Bizarre Bazaar, but I'm not in charge of all aspects of the world at large) is a winter event that I've never attended, but there's one in Cleveland, which is in driving distance, so I'm so there this year. Even though they're obviously not updated for the upcoming year yet, their sight is very valuable if you like to sell because they have lots of photos of past events. I flip through the vendor photos and gaze jealously at their awesome displays, and wish I, too, could make their awesome products.

Craftin' Outlaws also looks really cool, and is in good old Columbus, a driveable distance, but it seems like it might be really close in time to Chicago's Renegade Fair, which would be unfortunate. I can't spend the year tooling around in my RV from indie craft fair to indie craft fair until Matt and I retire. Or if we worked independently. Which would be great.

The No Coast Craft-O-Rama is too far away for me to attend, but it's another winter event. This is the thing I didn't get last year--I chose to sell at a sci-fi convention last Thanksgiving weekend instead of at the local craft fair's holiday fair, and I did well at the convention, but I might have done better at the holiday fair, because people love themselves some Christmas. I was opposed to the idea of making "Christmas" crafts because I generally only make things that I'm really into myself, and I'm not so into Christmas, but I was thinking I might try it this year. Christmas-themed stuff, anyway, if it doesn't sell, would also make good Christmas presents that would fit in with my handmade holiday ethic without the last-minute stress of actually making the handmade holiday. I noticed on etsy, too, that everybody but me made Valentine's Day stuff and it all sold like mad, so another one of my goals for the year is to figure out a schedule for creating for the big holidays.

Finally, the Urban Craft Uprising is also much too far away for me to attend, but I'm also a really big fan of the Web sites for indie craft fairs because they always provide links to the Web sites of their vendors, and I love indie craft Web shops as much as I love indie craft fairs.

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